NEIGHBOURHOOD NATURE SCHOOL
Welcome everyone to our Neighbourhood Nature School. This is an online learning hub for students from (K - 7) to learn about the environment, gardening and growing food together, our local food systems, exploring nature through observations and curiosity and sharing fresh and healthy recipes. Each week, a variety of lessons and activities will be added to this page and to our Instagram page. Students and families can collaboratively learn together while learning at home, exploring their backyard and neighbourhood.
Become a nature observer by participating in our spring scavenger hunt with your family and virtually with your friends!
Join in at any stage of the hunt, at your own pace.
Draw a picture of any items included in the scavenger hunt using your favourite artist tools (markers, crayons, pastels, paint, watercolour, pencil crayons, or chalk). We'll feature some of your drawings on this space! Email your submission to the School Gardens Program Coordinator at email@example.com
WEEKLY LESSONS AND ACTIVITIES
Access our weekly lessons ranging from local food systems, science, nature observations, gardening basics, pollinators, insects and plant life cycles. Our content is linked to our Green Thumbs at School: Food Garden Lesson Book
RECIPE OF THE WEEK - Strawberry Chia Seed Jam
Its strawberry season which starts in late May and ends around the start of July.
Strawberries are quickly growing delicious fruit this time of year and are full of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Strawberries are a perennial plant that live year to year, producing fruit and going dormant in the winter months. They reproduce through horizontal stolons (runners) stems from the mother (main) plant that spread over the surface of the soil and root to create daughter plants. Strawberries require 6+ hours of sunlight and warm temperatures to help their fruit grow
Try this 3 ingredient recipe from our School Gardens Coordinator for an easy jam. The ingredients are simple: strawberries (fresh or frozen, sugar, and chia seeds)
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam
3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (you can substitute this for other seasonal berries such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries).
1-2 tbsp sugar or natural sweetener
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
On a stove top, add the strawberries and sugar to a pot. Give it a stir.
Cook over medium heat until the strawberries begin to soften (5 minutes)
Mash the strawberries with a fork and turn down the heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the chia seeds.
Mix well. Let it sit and cool for 15 minutes. The chia seeds will thicken it to a jam consistency.
Add the jam mixture to a container and place in the fridge. (Lasts about 2 weeks)
Week 9: Insects (Part 2)
LESSON: Life Cycles (K to 7)
Did you know that there are over 1 million insect species?!
About 55,000 species live in Canada.
How long do insects live? Where can you find them? How many species of insects are there?
Some insects are food for birds, and frogs, while other insects pollinate plants, provide natural pest control, and some, well they damage our favourite crops.
In part two of this lesson, we will explore insect life cycles and learn more about the different stages of metamorphosis in different insect families.
Incomplete Metamorphosis: A type of development where the insect passes through three stages: egg, nymph and adult.
Nymph is like the 'teenage' version of the adult. At this stage, it looks just like the adult version, only smaller. It will continue to grow in size and actively feed.
Insects that undergo incomplete or 'simple' metamorphosis include: grasshoppers, earwigs, dragonflies, aphids, true bugs and cockroaches.
Complete Metamorphosis: A type of development where the insect passes through 4 stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult.
📷 Image 1 (on right) from Arizona Stage University | Image 2 from SPEC
Larva - During this stage, the larva is consuming a lot of food to help it grow, sometimes eating more food than it's own body weight. This is also the most destructive stage for pests like the cabbage looper caterpillar. They will destroy crops like cabbage, broccoli and bok choy due to their appetite.
Pupa - At this stage, the pupa stops eating and moving. lnside the pupa, there is a change happening. The insect anchors itself to a safe space and it begins it's transformation into an adult.
Often the insect will molt (shed it's skin) during the various stages of growth.
When the adult emerges from the pupa, it will take a some time to dry out it's new exoskeleton in the sun before it starts it's new journey.
Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis include: butterflies, flies, bees, beetles (like ladybugs), wasps, and ants.
ACTIVITY: Bug Jar
📷 Image courtesy of Canva
Observe insects in a bug jar! Grab a clear glass jar of any size. You can re-use an old condiment jar.
Ask an adult to help you create breathing holes on the lid of the jar for the insects.
Next, with your jar in hand, head outside to look for insects.
Remember to fill your jar with some leaves and small sticks.
Collect and insect or two and observe them.*
What type of insect are they? Do they eat plants? or other insects?
Remember to return your insects back to their habitat after you have observed them for a bit!
*Smaller insects are recommended for this activity such as lady bugs, ants, caterpillars, and pill bugs (roly poly).